“The physical scan is complete,” Mai’s voice reverberates in my mind.
Mai – that’s what Fujimiya-an had personally named the AI of the HCS Implantable Nanodevice, not the official designation.
The Implantable Nanodevice (ID for short) is a personal terminal embedded inside the body that wirelessly connects to the HCS Network (referred to as “the Net”), and its true identity is a group of ultra-fine machines, otherwise known as nanomachines, with the ability to self-replicate and proliferate within the body.
HCS stands for the Human Complementarity System, with the purpose of supporting, enlightening, and complementing all of humanity. The construction of the HCS was based on the premise of developing nanomachines and completing the ID that is built with them. It took mankind a vast amount of time to achieve this.
In the early 20th century, civilization had matured to a certain extent, and mankind was devoted to research in the field of nanotechnology, but progress was slow. Meanwhile, other fields saw some development and stagnation over the years.
As a sense of stagnation permeated the world, mankind’s worst war in history broke out. The war began as small skirmishes between small countries at the end of the 22nd century, but as major powers joined in, the war escalated and eventually developed into a nuclear war called the Third World War.
After a prolonged period, the war ended with the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons, but mankind was left standing on the edge of despair on the contaminated Earth.
However, a miracle happened in the early 23rd century. Although the developers remained anonymous, the Japanese government announced the successful development of medical nanomachines. The initial version of these nanomachines could scrutinize every single cell of a living creature and output information to an external device.
People all over the world found hope in the announcement by the Japanese government, and it wasn’t long before the war ended and a paradigm shift occurred.
Although nanotechnology had been stagnating for about 200 years, it began to develop at a tremendous pace from this point on. By the mid-25th century, the eighth generation of ID was released, and it had the impressive ability to fully access and repair the body and brain, and even store all meaningful information digitized since the 20th century in personal databases.
At this point, the ID’s penetration rate had reached 63% of the world’s population, and the Net’s coverage was at 21%, spreading steadily.
Although the HCS was not yet complete, mankind had overcome most of the physical weaknesses and started venturing into space with much more vigour than in the early 20th century.
After various twists and turns, in the year 2972 AD, both the penetration rate and the coverage rate of the ID reached 100%, and the HCS was finally complete.
(Wait a minute. I need to move to a place where I can hide.)
Where should I hide…? For now, I’ll head to the nearest house.
As I stepped onto the dirt road and quickly moved, I observed a house in the distance. There were only two window frames with armoured doors embedded in one of the walls, and no entrance could be seen. On this side of the wall, various wooden boxes, buckets, and firewood are stacked.
Is that place okay? I arrived and crouched down, taking a deep breath with my back against the wall. I waited and observed my surroundings, hiding between the wooden boxes and firewood.
“So, how was it?”
“I detected unknown energy in the body and in the air. It seems to accumulate within the body through respiration, but it is unclear whether it will cause a severe contamination that affects life activities. Insufficient data.”
“Whoa, could it be that classic mana from fantasy?!”
“Intuition can be useful, but being optimistic is dangerous. At this point, I can neither confirm nor deny.”
“Do you want to change the personality preset?”
(“No, I won’t change it because it’s attached to Mai.”)
“Well, I think that’s a good thing about you!”
This is it.
I love this rare moment when she becomes affectionate.
(Anyway, are there any other issues?)
“No, but we should observe the unknown energy closely, attempt analysis, and report any abnormalities.”
(OK. Also, can you display the changes in energy levels graphically using AR?)
“Is this OK?”
A transparent, pale blue graph appears at the edge of my vision.
(OK, that’s good.)
I can’t help but grin at the game-like vision.
In fact, there is no need to do things like this.
This is because the ID allows complete access to the brain.
In other words, information detected by the ID and stored in the database can be handled and understood in the same way as one’s own memories.
Therefore, there is no need to use visual aids.
To put it simply, AI interaction is not essential to handle the ID, and ID can be fully used without any dialogue, depending on the individual’s preference for customizing how to handle the ID, AI personality, and AR, etc.
“Well, let’s resume exploring.”
I stand up silently and head in the opposite direction of the road, so as not to make any noise.
When I carefully peek from the corner of the house, I notice an axe stuck in a log, a bundle of vines, and some meat hanging from the eaves?
It’s a small garden…or rather a workspace.
A small door is located close to the corner of the wall.
It doesn’t feel like a front door, but maybe it’s the back door?
I’m not not curious about what’s inside, but for now I want to check the front of the house.
After observing for a while, it doesn’t seem dangerous.
I cross the garden and head towards what I think is the front of the house.
It seems that this side is indeed the front.
There’s a door that looks like the entrance.
There’s nothing particularly notable, and it doesn’t seem dangerous, so I’m relieved for now.
I retract my head from the corner of the house and think for a while.
(I have no choice but to borrow that.)
“I agree due to the abnormal situation.”
I look at the axe and bundle of vines that I saw earlier.
*Sigh*… I’m exhausted.
I don’t mean to justify it with my subjective feelings, but it’s nothing more than a proper theft in this situation.
I have no intention of making excuses like “it’s not worth much”.
Although I’m in the middle of an abnormal situation, I’m going to steal.
If I ever meet the owner of this house, I will apologize with all my might and soul…
I face the house, bow my head, and apologize aloud.
Looking down, I noticed my bare feet and almost cried.
Why did I have to do this?
Pull yourself together, me.
It’s not the time to be down.
I grit my teeth and change my mood.
I look at the axe and bundle and take them.
“I’ll make sandals.”
I don’t have time to waste, so I quickly make sandals by cutting the vines into suitable lengths, making loops by weaving them inward, then using the straw rope used to bundle the vines as the thong.
After placing the sole on my foot to confirm the position of my thumb and heel, I pass the straw rope through the appropriate place and tie it securely.
Although it’s a simple design, it’s durable enough for short-term use.
I stand up and check the comfort of the sandals.
It’s not bad, but it’s not good either.
I let out an unconscious sigh.
I noticed that my mood was starting to sink again after finishing the work, so I shake it off.
No, let’s stay positive.
Although it’s a heinous act to steal and then stay positive, it’s fortunate to have obtained footwear in this situation.
Let’s be grateful to our predecessors who left primitive technology for future generations.
I return the axe and leftover vines to their original place, then lift my head to see that the distant sky is beginning to brighten.
“Is it almost dawn?”
“That’s right. Let’s investigate the village a little more before the sun completely rises.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
I decided to continue walking towards something that lies ahead, although I still feel gloomy.